If bees became extinct it would be a disaster for us. The ecosystem would be adversely affected and our diet would be limited, but you’ll be pleased to know that humanity would survive!
Unfortunately bees have lots of threats. These threats come in many forms such as:
Pesticides pose many problems to bees as lots of them either kill or disrupt their navigation systems. This means that the bees can’t get back to the hive and die prematurely as a result. A recent example of this is a group of pesticides called neonicotinoids .These were banned by the European Union in 2013 for a two year period while further research is carried out into their effects on bees.
Many mites such as varroa affect bees.These mites do terrible things to a bees body.Varoa mites are a pest that came to this country in 1992.The mite is laid in the brood cell and clings onto the host bee sucking hemolymph (bee ‘blood’) out of the bee’s body.This weakens the bee’s immune system . Acaraposis or tracheal mites were a big problem but they died off in the early 20th century as a result of beekeepers introducing methods of killing varoa.
Bacteria and Fungi play a big part in colony collapse disorder as the cause diseases such as; chalk brood, where the brood that is affected dies and is surrounded by a chalky white substance and sacbrood, which shortens the lifespan and usefulness of the bee by making it not forage as much.
These fungal and bacterial diseases kill or maim many bees so they don’t collect enough nectar and starve to death.
Finally bees have been affected by a virus called DWV (deformed wing virus).Symptoms of this include short useless wings,shortened rounded abdomens and paralysis of the leg and wings.This seriously damages the colony and can lead to colony collapse.
As you can see, many things are stacked against the survival of bees. But what would happen if they were to be wiped out?
Firstly our diet would consist of cereal crops and crops that are self or wind pollinated.
Secondly, most flowering plants such as apples, pears and tomatoes would be gone.However,in some southern provinces of China people already pollinate plants by hand as their bees have died out, partly because of heavy pollution.
Animals would also be damaged because the food chain would be unstable. Animals at the top of the food chain would have the hardest time as the prey that they depend on would have died of starvation due to the lack of flowering plants.
In summary, life without bees would be a life where plants would have trouble growing and there wouldn’t be enough food to feed the exponentially growing population. Bees are a precious resource that we can’t afford to lose; we must protect them.
By Reuben Jones